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Blumenthal & Blackburn's Bill to Protect Kids From Ingesting Button Batteries is Approved by Congress & Heads to President Biden's Desk

Reese’s Law strengthens safety standards for products with button batteries posing a serious danger to young children & infants if swallowed

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), lead Senate sponsors of Reese’s Law, bipartisan legislation to strengthen safety standards for products with button batteries frequently found in everyday items, issued the following joint statement after the Senate passed the legislation. The House of Representatives passed Reese’s Law earlier this week and it now heads to the President’s desk for signature.

Named in honor of Reese Hamsmith, an 18-month-old child who died after ingesting a button cell battery from a remote control, the legislation would protect children from these small button cell and coin batteries found in common household items including cameras, calculators, battery-operated candles, flashing apparel, and even greeting cards. If swallowed, these batteries can pose a serious danger to young children and infants, and can cause serious injuries, severe internal burns, or even death. 

“Reese’s Law will help prevent thousands of serious injuries by strengthening small battery safety standards,” said Blumenthal and Blackburn, Chair and Ranking member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security. “Kids like Reese Hamsmith have tragically died or been severely injured after swallowing this small but deadly hazard found in common household items. We are relieved this common-sense legislation has passed Congress and is on its way to President Biden’s desk to become law so families can have greater peace of mind about the safety of products in their home.”

Blumenthal and Blackburn unveiled the legislation last year during a hearing with Reese Hamsmith’s mother, Trista Hamsmith, founder of Reese’s Purpose.

“I'm grateful to the House and Senate for their diligent work to pass Reese’s Law. This legislation will undoubtedly save lives,” said Hamsmith. “I often talk about the plaque that was in Reese's hospital room which read, ‘He has a plan and I have a purpose.’ Reese's life was taken way too soon, but her legacy will live on through this law so that no other family will have to suffer like ours. We are thankful for the passage of this legislation to help protect all children and families from the hidden dangers of button batteries.”

Specifically, the legislation would direct the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to create safety standards to prevent accidental ingestion of button batteries by children, including:

  • Creating performance standards requiring the compartments of consumer products containing button cell or coin batteries to be secured to prevent access by children six years of age or younger;
  • Requiring button or coin cell packaging to be secured in a child-resistant manner;
  • Requiring warning labels in product manuals, on the packaging, and directly on the product when practical, so it is visible;
  • Requiring warning labels that clearly identify the hazard of ingestion; and
  • Requiring warning labels that instruct consumers to keep new and used batteries out of the reach of children, and to seek immediate medical attention is a battery is ingested. 

Reese’s Law was also introduced by U.S. Representatives Robin Kelly (D-IL), Jodey Arrington (R-TX), and Ted Lieu (D-CA) in the House, and has been endorsed by a number of advocacy and consumer protection groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, Consumer Reports, Kids In Danger (KID), and the Consumer Federation of America, as well as manufacturers, including the Toy Association and Hallmark Cards, Inc.